Remember Lot’s wife! (Luke 17:32, NIV)
The solemn warning:
- Christ does not bid us remember Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or Sarah, or Hannah, or Ruth. No: He singles out one whose soul was lost for ever. He cries to us, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Christ is speaking of His own second coming to judge the world: He is describing the awful state of unreadiness in which many will be found.
- Even the compassionate and loving Christ thinks it good to remind us of lost souls. Even He says, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- The Lord Jesus was speaking to His disciples: He was not addressing the scribes and Pharisees, who hated Him, but Peter, James, and John, and many others who loved Him.
- Christ speaks as if we were all in danger of forgetting the subject; He stirs up our lazy memories; He bids us keep the case before our minds.
The privileges which Lot’s wife enjoyed
- True saving knowledge of God was confined to a few favoured families in those day. Not one in a hundred perhaps had such good example, such spiritual society, such clear knowledge, such plain warnings as Lot’s wife. Compared with millions of her fellow-creatures in her time, Lot’s wife was a favoured woman.
- She had a godly uncle – Abraham
- She had a godly husband – Lot
- The worship of the true God with them was no mere formal business; it was the ruling principle of their lives and the mainspring of all their actions. All this Lot’s wife must have seen and known. This was no small privilege
- When the angels came to Sodom and warned her husband to flee, she saw them; when they took them by the hand and led them out of the city, she was one of those whom they helped to escape.
- Notwithstanding all her special warnings and messages from heaven, she lived and died graceless, godless, impenitent, and unbelieving. The eyes of her understanding were never opened; her conscience was never really aroused and quickened.
- The world was in her heart, and her heart was in the world. In this state she lived, and in this state she died.
Lessons to be learned:
- the mere possession of religious privileges will save no one’s soul
- it is not privileges alone that men need; we need the grace of the Holy Spirit
- if spiritual privileges do not do good, they often do positive harm: they sear the conscience, they increase responsibility, they aggravate condemnation.
- nothing so hardens the heart of man as a barren familiarity with sacred things.
- it is not privileges alone which make people Christians, but the grace of the Holy Ghost, without that no man will ever be saved
- if their is no faith following good sermons of good preachers, we not better off the the wife of Lot.
- do not suppose because you have spiritual advantages, that you will of course go to heaven. You must have grace in your own heart, as well as attend family prayers. If not, you are at present no better than Lot’s wife
- it is the highest privilege to be the child of a godly father and mother, and to be brought up in the midst of many prayers. It is a blessed thing indeed to be taught the Gospel from our earliest infancy, and to hear of sin, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and holiness, and heaven, from the first moment we can remember anything. But you cannot enter the kingdom of God on the credit of your parents’ religion. You must have repentance of your own, faith of your own, and sanctification of your own. If not, you are no better than Lot’s wife
- Lot’s wife had many privileges; but Lot’s wife had no grace.
The sin which Lot’s wife committed
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26, NIV)
- That look was a little thing, but revealed the true character of Lot’s wife.
- That look was a little thing, but it told of disobedience in Lot’s wife. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22)
“Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:17, NIV)
- That look was a little thing, but it told of proud unbelief in Lot’s wife: she seemed to doubt God is He would really destroy the cities.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)
The moment a man begins to think he knows better than God, and that God does not mean anything when He threatens, his soul is in great danger.
- That look was a little thing, but it told of secret love of the world in Lot’s wife. Her heart was in Sodom, though her body was outside. Her eye turned to the place where her treasure was
- Her profession was at one time fair and specious, but she never really gave up the world. She seemed at one time in the road to safety, but even then the lowest and deepest thoughts of her heart were for the world.
- Love for the world is a deadly trap
Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. (Proverbs 7:25–27, NIV)
- How many children of religious families begin well and end ill! In the days of their childhood they seem full of faith. But then they start walking in the steps of Lot’s wife. They look back.
- A spiritual blight comes over the household when a young family begins to grow up, and sons and daughters have to be brought forward in life. A leaven of worldliness begins to appear in their habits, dress, entertainments, and employment of time. A change has come over them: the spirit of the world has taken possession of their hearts. They walk in the steps of Lot’s wife. They look back.
- How many young women seem to love decided religion until they are twenty or twenty-one, and then lose all! But, alas, how often they prove unstable as water, and are ruined by the love of the world! Little by little they fall away and lose their first love. By and by they give their affections to some man who makes no pretence to decided religion. At last they end by giving up the last remnant of their own Christianity, and becoming thorough children of the world. They walk in the steps of Lot’s wife. They look back.
- How many communicants in our churches were at one time zealous and earnest professing Christians, and have now become torpid, formal, and cold! Mark their daily conduct, and you will see no zeal about the kingdom of God. The spring of their former Christianity is dried up and gone; the fire of the spiritual machine is quenched and cold: earth has put out the flame which once burned so brightly. They have walked in the steps of Lot’s wife. They have looked back.
Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. (Mark 4:18–19, NIV)
- How many clergymen work hard in their profession for a few years, and then become lazy and indolent from the love of this present world. At last the man who at one time seemed likely to be a real successor of the apostles and a good soldier of Christ, settles down on his lees as a clerical gardener, farmer, or diner-out, by whom nobody is offended and nobody is saved. His church becomes half empty; his influence dwindles away; the world has bound him hand and foot. He has walked in the steps of Lot’s wife. He has looked back.
- Beware of a half-hearted religion.
- Beware of following Christ from any secondary motive. Follow Christ for His own sake, if you follow Him at all. Be thorough, be real, be honest, be sound, be whole-hearted. If you have any religion at all, let your religion be real. See that you do not sin the sin of Lot’s wife.
- Beware of ever supposing that you may go too far in religion, and of secretly trying to keep in with the world. Do not try to drive a hard bargain, as if you wanted to give Christ as little of your heart as possible, and to keep as much as possible of the things of this life.
- Beware lest you overreach yourself, and end by losing all. Love Christ with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength. Seek first the kingdom of God, and believe that then all other things shall be added to you.
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, NIV)
The punishment which God inflicted on Lot’s wife
The same Almighty hand which first gave her life, took that life away in the twinkling of an eye. From living flesh and blood she was turned into a pillar of salt.
- To die by the direct interposition of an angry God – this is fearful indeed.
- There is an end of all such hopes when a person is suddenly cut down in the very act of sin. Charity itself can say nothing when the soul has been summoned away in the very midst of wickedness, without even a moment’s time for thought or prayer.
- Eternal judgement and punishment rest on the moral attributes of God, His justice, His holiness, His purity.
- If words mean anything, there is such a place as hell. If texts are to be interpreted fairly, there are those who will be cast into it. If language has any sense belonging to it, hell is for ever.
- The same Bible which teaches that God in mercy and compassion sent Christ to die for sinners, does also teach that God hates sin, and must from His very nature punish all who cleave to sin, or refuse the salvation He has provided.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. (John 3:36, NIV)
Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16, NIV)
- The Bible teaches very clearly that God will punish the hardened and unbelieving, and that He can take vengeance on His enemies, as well as show mercy on the penitent.
- The Lord Jesus Christ Himself has spoken most plainly about the reality and eternity of hell.The eternity of hell is as clearly affirmed in the Bible as the eternity of heaven. Once allow that hell is not eternal, and you may as well say that God and heaven are not eternal.
- The same Greek word which is used in the expression, “everlasting” punishment, is the word that is used by the Lord Jesus in the expression, life “eternal,” and by Paul in the expression, “everlasting” God.
- We can’t speak of mercy, but not of judgment; we can’t preach many sermons about heaven, but few about hell; if so, we have been carried away by the wretched fear of being thought “low, vulgar and fanatical.” We have forgotten that He who judges us is the Lord; the man who teaches the same doctrine which Christ taught can’t be wrong.
- Keep in full view of your mind that all who die unpardoned and unrenewed, are utterly unfit for the presence of God and must be lost for ever. They are not capable of enjoying heaven: they could not be happy there. They must go to their own place: and that place is hell.
- Beware of any preaching which does not plainly teach the reality and eternity of hell. Such a ministry may be soothing and pleasant, but it is far more likely to lull you to sleep than to lead you to Christ, or build you up in the faith. It is impossible to leave out any portion of God’s truth without spoiling the whole.
- If you desire to be a healthy Christian, consider often what your own end will be. Will it be happiness, or will it be misery? Will it be the death of the righteous, or will it be a death without hope, like that of Lot’s wife?
- There is mercy in God, like a river – but it is for the penitent believer in Christ Jesus. There is a love in God towards sinners which is unspeakable and unsearchable
- Seek to have an interest in that love. Break off every known sin; come out boldly from the world; cry mightily to God in prayer; cast yourself wholly and unreservedly on the Lord Jesus for time and eternity; lay aside every weight. Cling to nothing, however dear, which interferes with your soul’s salvation; give up everything, however precious, which comes between you and heaven.
- Are you careless about the second Advent of Christ? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you lukewarm, and cold in your Christianity? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you halting between two opinions, and disposed to go back to the world? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you secretly cherishing some besetting sin? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you trifling with little sins? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you resting on religious privileges? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you trusting to your religious knowledge? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you making some profession of religion, and yet clinging to the world? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Are you trusting that you will have a death-bed repentance? “Remember Lot’s wife.”
- Do you belong to an Evangelical congregation? Will that alone save you? “Remember Lot’s wife.”